About Family Service Ontario
We bring family service agencies together to build capacity so that we may improve the well-being of Ontarians.
Family service agencies deliver a wide range of trauma, relationship, mental health and wellness services to individuals, couples, and families.
Who do we help?
Daniel’s only loving relationship was with Ali, which began when he was 19 and first came to terms with his sexual orientation. He assumed they would be together forever, but after 25 years Ali ended the relationship. Daniel called for therapy saying that he is not coping, evidenced by his lack of sleep, eating and not feeling ready to return to work. Daniel was stuck in his grief and could not imagine life without Ali. The therapist provided a safe and supportive space for Daniel walk through the stages of grief. After a few tear-filled sessions, Daniel was able to return to work, tend to his health and take steps towards the next part of his life’s journey.
Donna’s father died recently. He had lived a long life and died peacefully but she was struggling with finding peace with his death. Donna’s husband suggested she reach out for professional help. Her father’s death brought up childhood memories of living with an alcoholic. Donna felt she never had a good relationship with her father due to his drinking and his anger. With therapy she was able to work through the feelings related to the loss of her father, the one she knew, and the one she never had.
Jerimiah describes himself as lost, and this was the reason he reached out for therapy. Conflicts with his wife were escalating and he felt criticized for his parenting. Jerimiah felt like he could not do anything right. In therapy he was able to share his feelings of shame about of how he handled conflict – either avoidance or saying things he later regretted. Therapy was an opportunity to safely work through his feelings of shame and gain enough confidence to be honest with his wife about his feelings. The therapist helped Jerimiah take responsibility for his choices, which helped him feel more capable of growth. Jerimiah has remained committed to growth and continues to use therapy as a tool to become the husband and father he aspires to be.
Sarah and Li
Sarah and Li were living together for a few years when they reached out for therapy. Sarah reported feeling frustrated by Li’s lack of interest in intimacy. Their difference in desire had resulted in anger and resentment that was undermining their otherwise strong relationship. Initially, Sarah came to therapy by herself, but then Li agreed she would attend a session. Once Li realized the therapist was not taking sides, she felt ready to commit to the process. The therapist helped Li and Sarah communicate and listen to each other’s feelings regarding their relationship and their intimacy. Equipped with a better understanding, and compassion, Sarah and Li were able to negotiate their differences and stop the cycle of conflict that threatened their relationship.
Cam is frightened by his own anger. Mostly he is frightened by the realization that he is becoming his abusive father. Cam knows too well where his behaviour towards his girlfriend could lead. He remembers what happened when his father was charged with assaulting his mother. Cam did not know where to get help until a friend told him about his local walk-in clinic. The therapist at walk-in eased his mind about the potential for help and connected him with ongoing therapy. His therapist helped him learn the skills needed to manage his feelings in his relationship and be a better partner. Cam even found it helped him deal with his boss and colleagues better. When Cam and his girlfriend were ready, they attended therapy together. Cam is beginning to forgive himself and both are feeling hope for the future of their relationship.
Eva called for therapy because she felt she was not a “good wife”. She reported that she struggled with feeling satisfaction with her relationship, and this had contributed to regular conflict. Eva described herself as nagging too much, which angered her husband. Therapy helped Eva free herself from the sole burden of responsibility for her marriage. She began to feel a sense of power again and recognize her husband’s controlling behaviour. When her husband refused to also engage in therapy, with the support from the therapist and a referral to a shelter, Eva was able to safely leave her husband. Eva continued in therapy for months to help her heal the emotional wounds and regain her strength.
Josh and Riya
Josh and Riya have been slowly drifting apart as they focused on the challenges of money, work, and parenting. Both describe their relationship as cold and distant. Recently, Josh had an intimate relationship outside of their marriage. Both Josh and Riya were committed to finding a way to make the relationship work for themselves and their children. Through committed effort and couple therapy, Josh and Riya are feeling connected again and Riya has begun building trust in Josh. They have a journey ahead, but are well on their way to a loving, healthy relationship.
Grace, who has an intellectual disability, has had the same roommate for the past 20 years, Missy. When Grace’s mother recently died, Missy was there for her and spent time with her to help ease her sadness. When Missy died suddenly, the developmental services worker knew Grace would need additional support. She brought Grace to therapy and attended the first session with her because Grace was nervous. Grace quickly felt safe with her therapist and appreciated the opportunity to talk about her friend and her mom. Together, they found ways for Grace to manager her sad feelings and honour her memories of Missy and her mother. Then Grace and her therapist helped her support workers know how to best assist Grace in practising her newfound skills at home.
Miya is 19 years old and estranged from her parents. They separated when she was twelve and have an ongoing tumultuous relationship. She feels neither parent understands her life’s challenges. Every time she has tried to talk to them about her feelings it has resulted in conflict. Through therapy Miya was able to feel understood for the first time in many years. The therapist helped her talk about her feelings in ways her parents may understand. Miya agreed to bring her parents to therapy – all together. After numerous difficult conversations, Miya and her parents listened to each other and developed a deeper understanding of each person’s unique challenges. For Miya and her parents, this was the first step to a more trusting relationship. Miya felt less vulnerable and ready to reconnect with her family.
When Asia called for therapy, she said she felt completely unhappy in her life. She was dissatisfied with her job, feeling alone, without friends and desperately seeking an intimate relationship. Asia felt stuck and that moving forward was impossible. It was overwhelming, not knowing where to begin to create the life she wanted. Asia and her therapists started with facing her deep fears of inadequacy, to help Asia believe that she deserved a better life. For Asia, this opened the door for feelings of hope. From there, she was able to develop a plan, which included taking some risks and moving outside of her comfort zone. It was a small step, and she was able to begin to build the life she wants and deserves.
News + Careers
Decrease in Anxiety, Depression in Ontarians Receiving Psychotherapy from Family Service Ontario Agencies
In first-of-their kind results in the province, data from the Family Service Ontario Demonstration Project show that average client anxiety and depression decreased from moderate to mild severity after receiving short-term psychotherapy from Family Service Ontario agencies.
The Family Service Ontario Demo Project is using evidence-based tools within the Greenspace platform to enable consistent progress measurement of client treatment outcomes (depression, anxiety and therapeutic alliance).
Funding for Family Service Ontario Conjoint Counselling Pilot Project One-year Extension to Four Project Sites Announced
Family Service Ontario, an association representing 43 Family Service agencies in Ontario, together with the Ministry of Community and Social Services announced the one-year funding extension.
In his Opinion Commentary, Glen Canning addresses the results of a recent survey from the Canadian Women’s Foundation that states “93% of Canadians say they want men to take a more active role in ending violence against women.”